Bread for the World Institute, Inc.

The information in this column was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 7/21/2021. To update the information in this column, please email:


Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

By changing policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity at home and far beyond where we live. We can end hunger in our time. But churches and charities can't do it all. Our government must also do its part. With the stroke of a pen, policies are made that redirect millions of dollars and affect millions of lives. By making our voices heard in Congress, we make our nation's laws fairer and more compassionate. We leverage big changes for people in our country and around the world who struggle with hunger.

Bread for the World Institute (BFWI) seeks justice for hungry people by engaging in research and education on policies related to hunger and development. BFWI researches and educates people on how to take effective action. BFWI works closely with its colleague organization, Bread for the World (BFW). With 56,000 members nationwide, BFW organizes people at the grassroots level to lobby their members of Congress on issues that address the root causes of hunger and poverty. Neither BFWI nor BFW provide direct relief or development assistance. Rather, they focus on using the power members have as citizens in a democracy to influence how government decisions affect hungry people. Every year, Bread for the World Institute publishes a report on the state of world hunger. Bread for the World Institute recently launched a new electronic newsletter called Trade Matters. It focuses on issues of trade policy, such as the Brazilian Cotton Case and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. Bread for the World is a nonpartisan organization whose members include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. The organization is also supported by 45 denominations and many theological perspectives. Contributions to Bread for the World Institute, Inc. are fully deductible; however, contributions to Bread for the World are not.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Bread for the World
425 3rd Street SW, Ste 1200
Washington, DC 20024-0024


Phone: (800) 822-7323


Organization details

EIN: 510175510

CEO/President: Rev. Eugene Cho

Chairman: Katherine Pringle

Board size: 43

Founder: Rev. Arthur Simon

Year founded: 1985

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 12/31

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


Bread for the World Institute provides nonpartisan policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. The Institute has been educating opinion leaders, policymakers, and the public about hunger in the United States and abroad since 1975. Bread for the World Institute is a separately-incorporated 501(c)3 organization. Gifts to the Institute are tax-deductible.

The Institute publishes a book-length Hunger Report every year. Each edition focuses on a particular topic and its relationship to the root causes of hunger and malnutrition.

The Institute's current analysis and advocacy areas include:

global hunger and poverty

U.S. hunger and poverty

U.S. populations most impacted by hunger

U.S. international development assistance

global sustainable development goals

maternal / child nutrition

food security and smallholder agriculture


Mission statement

BFW Institute uses the following to express its mission:

BFW Institute seeks justice for hungry people by engaging in research and education on policies related to hunger and development.

Statement of faith

Bread to World expresses its biblical perspective in the following way:

(From Grace at the Table: Ending Hunger in God's World, by David Beckmann and Art Simon. Published by Paulist Press and InterVarsity Press. Copyright 1999 by Bread for the World Institute.)

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

If you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.
--Isaiah 58:6 & 10 (NRSV)

What the Old Testament says about hunger and poverty
Two main themes run through the Bible concerning hunger. The first is God's providence. The second is our responsibility to take care of the earth and one another. Both themes reflect the will of God that everyone be adequately fed.

These themes emerge in the very first pages of the Old Testament or Hebrew scriptures, when God places Adam and Eve in a lush garden with an abundance of food and tells them to replenish the earth and take care of it. The subsequent account of Cain murdering his brother Abel sends the clear message from God that we are our brother's and sister's keeper.

Both themes--God's providence and our responsibility for one another--emerge dramatically in the exodus from Egypt. God's liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery echoes through the entire Old Testament, informing its faith and its ethical instruction. The exodus experience shaped the laws, informed the prophets and became deeply embedded in worship by the Hebrew people.

Over and over the law instructs Israelites to remember the foreigner (i.e., the immigrant), the orphan and the widow--those most vulnerable to hunger and poverty--and ties this instruction to the exodus. Look at Deuteronomy:

When you gather your crops and fail to bring in some of the grain that you have cut, do not go back for it; it is to be left for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. . . . When you have gathered your grapes once, do not go back over the vines a second time; the grapes that are left are for the foreigners, orphans and widows. Never forget that you were slaves in Egypt; that is why I have given you this command. (24:19-22 TEV)

Other laws provided for sharing one-tenth of the harvest with immigrants, orphans and widows (Dt 14:28-29), for lending at no interest to those in need (Ex 22:25), and for the cancellation of debts every seventh year (Dt 15:1-2, 7-11). Every fiftieth year was to be a Year of Jubilee during which property was to be returned to the family of the original owner. The intent of this law, which may never have been carried out, was to prevent the concentration of wealth and make sure that each family had the means to feed itself.

What Old Testament says about justice
The prophets, too, insisted on justice for everyone. Amos, for example, denounced those who trampled on the needy and destroyed the poor in order to gain wealth. He railed against those who lived in luxury while the poor were being crushed.

The prophets' main judgments were leveled against idolatry and social injustice. The living God insists on personal morality and social justice, while idols offer fertility and prosperity without social responsibility.

The Psalms (the hymns of ancient Israel) invite us to celebrate God's justice.

[God] always keeps his promises; he judges in favor of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. (146:6-7 TEV)

Happy are those who are concerned for the poor; the Lord will help them when they are in trouble. (41:1 TEV)

The wisdom literature in the Old Testament expresses the same theme, as these texts from Proverbs indicate:

If you refuse to listen to the cry of the poor, your own cry will not be heard. (21:13 TEV)

Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. [Defend the rights of the poor and needy. (31:8-9 TEV)

Concern for poor, hungry and vulnerable people is pervasive in the Hebrew Scriptures. It flows directly from the revelation of God through the rescue of an enslaved people.

Themes in the New Testament
The New Testament ethic builds on the Hebrew Scriptures. Its teachings emerge from a divine act of salvation--the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" conquered sin and death for us, we are forgiven, reconciled to God, born anew to be imitators of God, called to sacrificial love for others. Through the gift of eternal life, Jesus sets us free to make the doing of good our purpose in life (Eph 2:8-10).

The nature of the good we are to do is not left in doubt, for we have the example of Jesus himself. He had a special sense of mission to poor and oppressed people--evidence that, in him, the messianic promises were being fulfilled. At the outset of his ministry, Jesus stood up in the synagogue at Nazareth and read from the prophet Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. (Lk 4:18-19)

The gospels depict Jesus repeatedly reaching out to those at the bottom of the social pyramid--poor people, women, Samaritans, lepers, children, prostitutes and tax collectors. Jesus was also eager to accept people who were well-placed, but he made clear that all, regardless of social position, needed to repent. For this reason he invited the rich young lawyer to sell all of his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor.

In his portrayal of the day of judgment, Jesus pictured people from all nations gathered before him. To the "sheep" he says, "Come you blessed of my Father, for I was hungry and you fed me. . . ." In their astonishment they ask, "When did we do that?" And he answers, "When you did it to the lowliest of my brothers (and sisters)." Conversely, to the "goats" he says, "Out of my sight, you who are condemned, for I was hungry and you did not feed me. . . ." (Mt 25:31-46, paraphrased)

Clearly, in both Old and New Testaments the intention of God that all people find a place at the table is combined with a responsibility on our part for those who are most vulnerable, those most often kept from the table. This intention flows from the heart of God, who reaches out in love to all of us--rich, poor and in between.

What Scripture says about advocacy
Churches are already doing a lot to take care of hungry people directly through charity work. By one estimate, religious congregations give $7 billion each year (about one-seventh of their total revenue) to people in need (New York Times, 3 February 1995). But Christians devote much less effort to influencing what governments do.

God, however, requires both charity and justice, and justice can often be achieved only through the mechanism of government. The view that nations, as well as individuals, will be judged by the way they treat the weakest and most vulnerable among them is deeply embedded in the witness of prophets such as Isaiah, who said:

How terrible it will be for those who make unfair laws, and those who write laws that make life hard for people. They are not fair to the poor, and they rob my people of their rights. They allow people to steal from widows and to take from orphans what really belongs to them. (Is 10:1-2 NCV)

Jesus criticized and disobeyed laws when they got in the way of helping people. He healed people on the Sabbath, for example, even though all work was prohibited on the Sabbath. Religion and government were intermixed, so Jesus was challenging the law of the land. The threat Jesus posed to both religious and political authorities led to his crucifixion.

Government is not the only or always the best instrument to deal with hunger. But it is one of the institutions created by God--part of God's providence--for the welfare of people. Because we live in a democracy, a nation with a government "of the people," we have a special privilege and responsibility to use the power of our citizenship to promote public justice and reduce hunger.

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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Advocacy

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating307 of 91310 of 38
Fund acquisition rating447 of 91517 of 38
Resource allocation rating22 of 9153 of 38
Asset utilization rating699 of 91325 of 38

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$1,327,147$2,102,910$2,237,691$2,250,301$3,538,163
Short-term investments$5,393,668$4,830,271$4,038,007$4,511,301$3,677,180
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$11,109,196$11,176,688$11,092,694$11,498,614$13,492,306
Long-term investments$0$0$0$0$0
Fixed assets$111,126$496,879$424,653$578,628$718,544
Other long-term assets$237,515$237,515$282,982$275,961$255,862
Total long-term assets$348,641$734,394$707,635$854,589$974,406
Total assets$11,457,837$11,911,082$11,800,329$12,353,203$14,466,712
Payables and accrued expenses$264,823$125,606$97,912$25,341$51,311
Other current liabilities$0$0$0$0$0
Total current liabilities$264,823$125,606$97,912$25,341$51,311
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$1,918,953$2,124,953$891,096$1,378,341$857,053
Total long-term liabilities$2,791,253$2,124,953$891,096$1,378,341$857,053
Total liabilities$3,056,076$2,250,559$989,008$1,403,682$908,364
Net assets20202019201820172016
Without donor restrictions$4,705,334$5,462,907$7,353,922$7,908,643$9,148,430
With donor restrictions$3,696,427$4,197,616$3,457,399$3,040,878$4,409,918
Net assets$8,401,761$9,660,523$10,811,321$10,949,521$13,558,348
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$4,450,734$5,331,172$6,393,143$3,648,530$3,913,998
Program service revenue$125$4,972$0$3,075$46,911
Membership dues$1,043,555$931,846$1,002,370$928,416$920,842
Investment income$284,177$309,196$248,780$228,127$276,284
Other revenue$102,129$64,590$3,442$5,608$7,327
Total other revenue$1,429,986$1,310,604$1,254,592$1,165,226$1,251,364
Total revenue$5,880,720$6,641,776$7,647,735$4,813,756$5,165,362
Program services$6,749,402$7,411,008$6,513,414$7,157,980$7,342,356
Management and general$343,765$327,362$424,889$346,394$460,218
Total expenses$7,428,966$8,213,900$7,288,665$7,773,807$8,193,099
Change in net assets20202019201820172016
Surplus (deficit)($1,548,246)($1,572,124)$359,070($2,960,051)($3,027,737)
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets($1,548,246)($1,572,124)$359,070($2,960,051)($3,027,737)


Eugene ChoPresident$248,785
Michele SumilasManaging Director$247,677
Delma PlummerVice Pres. of Finance$230,090
James LundVice Pres. Development$206,553
Heather ValentineDirector of Gov. Relations$186,646
David M BeckmannPresident$182,880
Jeffrey NelsonDirector of Finance$164,431
Asma LateefDirector of Institute$163,070
Stephen HitchcockSr. Manager-Development$162,767
Heather TaylorDirector of Communications$154,812

Compensation data as of: 12/31/2020

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 7/21/2021. To update the information below, please email:


In the 1970s, Rev. Art Simon, the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church on New York City's Lower East Side, often found himself responding to emergency situations caused by hunger and poverty in his neighborhood.

Simon, along with a dozen other church leaders in the area - Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, and Lutherans - began meeting to explore how they might address the local and global root causes of hunger. They saw a place for Christians to try to prevent hunger from happening in the first place rather than just reacting to it. In 1974, this group founded Bread for the World with the mission of ending hunger in the world by speaking out to their elected officials in Washington, D.C.

From the very start, Bread has been a group effort. Its success has been made possible only because people of faith seized the opportunity to reach out to our nation's decision makers for action against hunger.

"We began with a tiny seed of an idea, but the seed had life and, when planted, God gave growth," recalls Simon.

Bread's grassroots network was born with the launch of Project 500 - an effort to recruit and train 500 advocates. Many of those early advocates remain active Bread members today. And this network, which has grown exponentially since then, remains the engine of the organization.

Bread launched its first large-scale letter writing campaign, the Offering of Letters, in 1975 - on the right to food. Despite having fewer than 10,000 members at the time, Bread was able to generate more than 100,000 letters to Congress on this issue because its active members invited their fellow church members to participate.

The landmark Right to Food Resolution, passed overwhelmingly by Congress, states: "...the United States reaffirms the right of every person in this country and throughout the world to food and a nutritionally adequate diet...."

Four decades later, this simple, brilliant idea - the Offering of Letters - remains one of Bread's core organizing strategies. It is still Bread's signature campaign and is an annual occurrence that Bread members look forward to every year.

Over the years, Bread's Offering of Letters and other campaigns have won far-reaching changes for hungry and poor people. Bread's members have written millions of letters to their members of Congress.

In 1991, Rev. David Beckmann succeeded Simon as president. Also a Lutheran pastor, Beckmann had worked for 15 years at the World Bank. Under his leadership, Bread has become increasingly more prominent, with a significantly bigger membership, budget, and staff.

On July 1, 2020, Rev. Eugene Cho succeeded Beckmann as president. Cho, an Evangelical Christian, is the founder and visionary of One Day's Wages - a grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. He is also the founder and former Senior Pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington.

Bread has also branched out over the years, establishing two affiliates:

Bread for the World Institute, established in 1975, provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end it. Each year since 1990, the Institute has published a highly regarded Hunger Report, an authoritative analysis of hunger trends and a resource for hunger statistics.

The Alliance to End Hunger, established in 2001, engages diverse organizations-including Jewish and Muslim groups, charities, universities, and corporations-to build the public and political will to end hunger at home and abroad.

Program accomplishments